By Megan Ann Williams
The Baylor Line recently met up with Baylor film professor Chris Hansen, on the set of his latest feature film, Where We Started. The film follows the story of two strangers married to other people. Both characters are at vulnerable stages in their lives and meet at a dark motel on a lonely night. Attraction turns into flirtation, and they have to make the decision about whether or not to cross the line into cheating.
The Line checked back in with Hansen and his crew upon the completion of the film to hear about their experiences.
During the first half of filming, the crew experienced a small series of disasters. A trailer came unhitched from their truck on the highway, a tree fell and crushed a crewmember’s car, and a hotel manager decided that he no longer wanted the crew to film at his place of business. Thankfully, the cast and crew of Where We Started stayed hard at work, and through more than a few prayers, they hit their stride. The crew filmed into the early morning hours and often did not get to bed until dawn. Now that the filming is finished, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief, catch up on some much-needed sleep, and begin work on post-production.
“There were a lot of long hours, especially for the emotional scenes,” said Jake Beck, a sophomore from Waco, who was pleased with the end result of the film production. “I’m anxious to see what happens,” he said regarding post-production.
For Erin Hill, a transfer sophomore from Houston, it was her first time on the Baylor campus. She recently came to Baylor as a film and digital media major, deciding to fully immerse herself in her newfound studies. “This was my first time away from home,” she said. “I thought I was going to have a horrible time, but everyone has been so welcoming.”
Taylor Epps, a junior from Celina, had her doubts about the topic of the movie, but still feels that she gained valuable experience from the project. “I am sure it is going to be a great picture,” she said. “I know for a fact that I belong in the entertainment industry, and working on this film definitely put a spark under my passion.”
The director of photography, Taylor Rudd, an ’09 alumnus from Austin, was a bit apprehensive during filming, but appreciated the enthusiasm that the student workers brought to the table. “Hopefully, the idea of mixing a director’s vision with a student workshop has been beneficial for everyone. The relationship here went beyond just getting the labor done,” he said.
The film was originally titled An Affair, but everyone involved in production seems to be in full support of the new title, Where We Started. According to the film’s writer and director, Chris Hansen, the change had been a long time coming. “I’d rather change it at the wrong time than leave it as the wrong title. The original title was a little too on the nose, and this one is a little more evocative and mysterious,” Hansen said.
Lauren Woodruff, a graduate student from Sugar Land, served as Hansen’s assistant. “I am very excited about the film now that shooting is over. I got to see a little bit of the footage which I wasn’t able to see in position on set, and it looks great,” she said. “The acting is phenomenal, and the cinematography is just gorgeous at all the right parts and feels right for all of the emotional scenes that I got to see. I really think that we have a gem here.”
Tyler Ellis, a graduate student from Waco who serves as the film’s production designer, also expressed his pride in the finished film. “It will be very rewarding, I think, to see the combined results of set design, Taylor Rudd’s photography, and Chris’ directing. Everybody on set played an important part in production, and they should all be very proud when the final product comes out,” Ellis said. For him, the end of shooting also means the beginning of his job hunt in the art, digital media, and design field.
Brian Elliott, the film’s producer and a senior lecturer in the Baylor film and digital media department, has also already started to think about the film’s promotion. “We are thinking of some marketing ideas, like what are some social network ideas? What are some promotional tie-ins?” Elliott said. “We are thinking ahead of time, ‘Well, there might be [film] festivals, but can we take this on the road as a tour? Would it be to other universities? Would it be churches?’”
The film has been shipped to Simon Tondeur, an editor in Los Angeles whom Hansen has worked with on previous projects. Once the student film crew finished syncing the sound with the film, they sent everything to California to be edited, though the film’s director still plays a major role in maintaining the artistic vision. Hansen hopes to have Where We Started finished by October, in time for the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
For more information on the filming of Where We Started, you can check out Hansen’s blog or follow the film on Twitter. To hear more about Hansen’s role in the FDM department, be sure to read the August issue of Between the Lines, the BAA’s bimonthly newsletter. For the Line’s previous article on the film, Another Affair to Remember, click here.